Stillwater: Local Republicans Raptured?
(Originally published 9/21/05)
Theories inevitably spring up to explain the disappearance of State Senators Michelle Bachmann and Brian LeClair and House Representatives Mike Charron and Matt Dean from the pages of local media here in Stillwater.
It was suggested that LeClair, Dean and Charron took a powder after their disastrous appearance at a local School Board meeting, when they revealed that they had been planning to rewrite the local school budget with millions in non-existent cash. Others theorized that the three might have died of embarrassment shortly after the meeting ended.
A reader wrote in this week claiming to have had a Bachmann sighting, but I won’t believe it til I see it for myself. Some attempt to explain Senator Bachmann’s disappearance as political strategy. Bachmann’s candidacy is, after all, a stealth candidacy—her success in the upcoming Congressional race depends on her ability to deceive mainstream voters about her plans to put creationism on the school curriculum, to eliminate separation of church and state, and beat up on the gay minority.
She would also like voters to forget how hard she pushed for Minnesota to adopt TABOR—the so-called Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights amendment to the state constitution. Ten years after TABOR was first adopted in Colorado, its mandatory tax and spending cuts are bringing about the financial collapse of that state. The Colorado governor who was elected because he advocated TABOR is now calling for its immediate suspension so that the state can make it through the next year.
So you can see why Bachmann wants us to forget about her passionate sales pitch for TABOR. She is retreating to the usual GOP position on taxes: in order to avoid taxing the rich, they pile up mountains in public debt and then make middle class and poor families responsible for repayment of that tax debt, forever after. Maybe this is why she’s keeping a media profile that’s lower than Herve Villechaise’s, these days.
But there is another possible explanation for the disappearances of Bachmann, LeClair, Dean and Charron that has not yet been mentioned—perhaps because most people find this explanation so frightening that they refuse to face the possibility.
But face it we must, for the fate of these four is the legislative fate of the St. Croix Valley. So here it is, the scariest disappearance explanation of all:
I think they may have been raptured.
For those of you who do not know what the verb “rapture” means, I will be brief. The term refers to a prophetic doctrine that arose in the nineteenth century: the widely held belief that before the end of the world and time, believing Christians will be caught up into the sky by God—disappear off the face of the earth and brought directly up to heaven, so that they won’t have to experience all the tribulations that God is going to send to torment the unbelieving—earthquakes, hurricanes (MMM-HMM! OH-HOH!), fiery locusts, One World Government, invisible bug-eyed demons on horses with axes, people talking in scary “Exorcist” type voices, the Anti-Christ and his big mean dogs with glow-in-the-dark eyes.
Yes, many millions of politically conservative, right wing Christians really do believe this is going to happen. These millions are responsible for the success of the wildly popular Left Behind series of novels, Reverend Tim LaHaye’s seventy-five part dramatization of how this disturbing biblical prophecy might shake out. But what’s even scarier than the prophecy itself is that the people who buy those Left Behind books and that line of thinking are, in many cases, the same people who are selecting the president of the United States these days.
But I am nothing if not open-minded. What if the poor suckers who believe in this Stephen King-style religious doctrine are right? At this point we don’t have any better explanation for why our four local legislators have disappeared. What if they were raptured, and the rest of us have been—LEFT BEHIND?
Here’s how we find out. In the Left Behind novels, when people are raptured they disappear instantly, like on “I Dream of Jeannie” or “Bewitched” but without the sound effect, so unless you’re looking right at them it’s hard to know whether someone has been raptured or simply left the room. But one thing is clear from the Left Behind novels: when people are raptured, they are raptured right out of their pants. Wherever they were when they were raptured, there is a neatly folded pile of their clothes. God snatches them up to heaven naked; why He folds the clothing they leave behind is not clear.
So if anyone sees Senator Brian LeClair’s neatly folded pants lying around anywhere, please write to this newspaper immediately. Do the same if you find a pair of Michele Bachmann’s high heels and one of her chic little cocktail dresses behind a bush somewhere outside an anti-Bachmann rally. Write in if you find Matt Dean’s empty boxers or Mike Charron’s vacant jockeys—I’ll see if I can get the editor to run a picture, it’s that important. For if what I suspect is true, we have indeed been—LEFT BEHIND…
William Prendergast is the author of the crime thriller “Forbidden Hollywood” and he is working on a series of sequels to the Left Behind novels, which will be called “Right Behind.” So if you already have the Left Behind novels and you buy the Right Behind novels, then you’ll have the whole behind, and you won’t have to go around with these half-assed theories of yours anymore.